The Trail Community Action Team (TCAT) is hosting the second speaker series about addictions, the opioid crisis and the impact drug use is having on communities.
Addiction and the Poisoned Drug Supply: What we need to know. How we can help runs on Tuesday, Feb. 15 as part of a hybrid online and in-person presentation at The Bailey Theatre in downtown Trail.
Many local residents have voiced concerns both online and in the newspaper about the opioid crisis and the effect drug use is having on everyday life.
At the same time, TCAT says that very few people really understand drug use, the process of addiction, and the mental and physical aspects of substance use.
The second Respect and Connect speaker series features Zak Matieschyn, a Nurse Practitioner, who has completed an Addiction Fellowship with the BC Centre for Substance Use.
Matieschyn will be joined by several people with lived experience of substance use, who will share their personal stories and discuss how they became involved in using substances, and the effect it has had on their lives.
Matieschyn says he is committed to making life better for people who use drugs.
In his addiction practice in Nelson, he meets people from all walks of life whose lives have been impacted — sometimes profoundly — by substance use.
Based on his many years in policy development and practice, Matieschyn has developed a pragmatic approach to addressing issues of addiction and substance use, and supporting his patients as best he can.
“The changing drug supply over the past few years has made my practice much more challenging,” Matieschyn explains.
Fentanyl is found in over 85 per cent of people who die due to drug use in British Columbia, sometimes on its own and sometimes included in other substances such as cocaine or methamphetamine, he adds.
“It is so potent that our traditional treatment options don’t always work.”
According to BC chief coroner, Lisa Lapointe, toxic drugs are the leading cause of death among British Columbians aged 19 to 39 and the most common cause of unnatural death in B.C., overtaking all homicides, motor vehicles incidents, suicides and other accidental causes combined.
By health authority, Interior Health had the second highest rate of death due to illicit drug use in 2021, 45 deaths per 100,000 people, second only to Vancouver Coastal Health, which saw 48 deaths per 100,000 individuals.
“The tragedy is that many of these deaths – 6.5 per day in B.C. – are preventable,” said Diana Daghofer, a member of the Respect and Connect organizing committee and co-chair of the TCAT. “No deaths have ever been recorded at an overdose prevention site, where drug testing, harm reduction supplies and counselling are provided.”
Addiction and the Poisoned Drug Supply: What we need to know. How we can help will be presented at the Muriel Griffiths room of the Bailey Theatre or virtually via Zoom from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 15.
To register, visit: https://selkirk.ca/respect-and-connect.
The event is free of charge, either in person at the Bailey, or online.
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Respect and Connect: A better community for us all is brought to you by the Trail Community Action Team, Trail arts council, Selkirk College’s Mir Centre for Peace and School of Academic Upgrading and Development, and the Trail and District Public Library.
Stay tuned for a second event in February, a screening of the film, The Public, followed by the Coldest Night of the Year walk and fundraiser on Saturday, Feb. 26.